West Cork Literary Festival – the highlights

I’ve just returned from almost a week in Ireland (a week during which the sun shone all day, every day from the bluest of skies – almost unheard of in the south of Ireland) and somehow, I’ve got to come down to earth. The week was filled with wonderful experiences but I’m going to try to distil them into four highlights:

Obviously the launch of the Fish anthology 2013 (held in Bantry as part of the West Cork Literary Festival) has to come first. It more than lived up to my expectations. The ten winners in four genres – short story, flash fiction, memoir and poetry – were invited to the launch to read their work. Some of the writers had travelled from as far away as New Zealand and America. The audience for the event was huge, and it was a privilege to be part of it.

My second highlight is a talk by the Irish writer Anne Enright. I’ve read her last two novels ‘The Gathering’ which won the Booker in 2007 and ‘The Forgotten Waltz’, shortlisted for the Orange Prize in 2012, and enjoyed both of them. I found her talk fascinating, but two things in particular stuck in my mind (1) writer’s block is a product of the imagination; your novel is a product of the imagination. Why not let the novel win? (2) I don’t do much but try to write. I sit at my desk and most of the time nothing happens. About 2 pm, I get up a head of steam, but it doesn’t last long! Oh, and she doesn’t show her first drafts to anyone except her husband.

My third highlight is Bantry Bay itself, an exquisite bay – especially in glorious sunshine – tucked into south-west Ireland.

And my fourth highlight has to be the people. Warm, friendly, helpful, welcoming, unfailingly polite. Perfect – the word most often on their lips. And that describes my trip – perfect.


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  1. Polly says:

    So good to see you had a wonderful time ~ love the quotes 🙂

  2. Lindsay says:

    The whole thing was brilliant, Polly. And I could have listened to Anne Enright all evening.

  3. Derek Taylor says:

    We’re just so glad you had such a wonderful week. You were owed it. Talk soon. Love D&M xxx

  4. Lindsay says:

    It certainly lived up to expectations, helped by the glorious, very un-Irish weather!

  5. Diane Colvin says:

    Delighted you had a wonderful time in Ireland. I was fascinated that Anne Enright only shows her first drafts to her husband. I don’t think I will do that as by the time mine had finished commenting on them I would probably consign them to the bin!

  6. Lindsay says:

    Thanks, Diane. The whole thing was wonderful. Anne Enright said she reads her work aloud to her husband every evening, but once he went on strike saying ‘That’s exactly the same as you read me last night.’ !!

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